Bright white lights replace blue Christmas bulbs on US 278 this year

dburley@islandpacket.comDecember 23, 2013 

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A different color is reflecting off the windshields of Hilton Head Island motorists who drive along U.S. 278 this holiday season.

The Town of Hilton Head Island has replaced blue Christmas lights with white, part of the town's revamped holiday light display that includes four new locations and bulbs in lower-growing vegetation -- not the tall holly trees in roadway medians.

"We took a look at our lights and realized it was hard to make them aesthetically pleasing on the trees," town facilities manager Julian Walls said. "They (the trees) got so large that it wasn't a viable option anymore."

For the first time, LED lights are visible at the Jarvis Creek Park flagpole, the Gumtree Road intersection median and both Beach City Road and Squire Pope Road traffic circles, bringing the number of light locations to 14. Sixty-five wreaths also hang from traffic signals, according to Alice Derian, town contracts and service administrator, who coordinated this year's presentation.

The lights, which went up in November, are mostly powered by electric pedestals in the median that run to an underground power source. These pedestals were installed six years ago when the town first strung lights on U.S. 278, Walls said.

Walls could not say Monday how much the projects cost the town.

He has plans to rope lights throughout Jarvis Creek Park next year -- a move that depends on a Town Council committee that approves his budget for holiday decorations.

"It's all about the mighty dollar. We have to spend it wisely. But it's our job to make the island look good," he said.

Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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